The Original Motion Picture
6-Movie Collection 4K review by Bobby Blakey
There are few sci-fi franchises that have had the staying power and impact of Star Trek. The original short run series has spawned numerous films and TV series. Now to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of the franchise with an all-new collection of the original 6 films on 4K for the first time ever together.
These films all feature the original cast including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and James Doohan as well as numerous young actors in their earliest roles including Stephen Collins, Kirstie Alley, Paul Winfield, Phil Morris, Michael Berryman, Christopher Lloyd and the return of the late Ricardo Montalban reprising his role as Khan from the original series.
Over the years all of these films have been released in numerous forms and reviewed so I am going to go through a quick thought on each film and then more about the bonus features and overall look and feel of it all which is outstanding.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture follows Captain James T. Kirk who returns to the helm of a newly transformed U.S.S. Enterprise to take command when an unidentified alien intruder destroys three powerful Klingon cruisers,
Although I am more of a Star Wars fan, I have always embraced the Trek franchise. I enjoyed most of it, but have to admit that this original film was the one that I always struggled with. Watching it again for the first time in years I still find it a hard sell. I appreciate what they were trying to do with the film and rebuilding the series to something more epic and serious. It does offer up that vintage sci-fi style I will always love and works better for me now than I remember, but is no doubt one that is an acquired taste.
The 4K restoration really enhances the look of the film and makes it a visual treat. With any film of this time it does showcase some of the effects and their dated look, but that is also part of the charm of it all and makes it all the more impressive to what they were able to do back then. The enhancements that the director’s edition brings to this film does in fact make it a better film, but still a struggle for me to fully invest. It isn’t a bad movie, just a slow pace that I just never been able to fully commit to.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan follows Admiral James T. Kirk during routine training maneuvers who seems resigned that this may be the last space mission of his. But an adversary from the past has returned with a vengeance. Aided by his exiled band of genetic supermen, Khan (Ricardo Montalbán)—brilliant renegade of 20th century Earth—has raided Space Station Regula One, stolen the top-secret device called Project Genesis, wrested control of another Federation starship, and now schemes to set a most deadly trap for his old enemy Kirk… with the threat of a universal Armageddon.
This is easily considered one if not the best of the film series and the one that truly took it back to the roots of the series with a direct continuation from the Khan story line in the original series also featuring Montalban in the role of Khan. This film brought all the action left out of the original film as well as set the tone to what the future of the franchise would look like. From here it also set it on a course that would carry over into the future films in varying ways making the entire universe more cohesive.
Once again the 4K restoration stepped up the visual on this film making look better than ever. The effects were already way better this time around and even with the high def look they still hold up for the most part. I still love this chapter and the over acting performances of both Shatner and Montalban is a lesson in intensity of acting both good and bad in the best way possible.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock follows Admiral Kirk whose defeat of Khan and the creation of the Genesis planet are empty victories. Spock is dead and McCoy is inexplicably being driven insane. Then a surprise visit by Spock's father provides a startling revelation: McCoy is harboring Spock's living essence. Kirk attempts to steal the U.S.S. Enterprise and defy Starfleet's Genesis planet quarantine to search for his friend, but the Klingons are planning a deadly rendezvous.
This chapter picks up directly after the events of the original film and reintroduces the Klingons, mine and most everyone else’s favorite Trek races. They also replaced Kirstie Alley this time around with Robin Curtis taking on the role of Saavik. I actually enjoy this one quite a bit mostly due to the difference in the adventure and the crew. Instead of the full on Enterprise crew they found an interesting way to keep it to the core group as well to bring Spock back that works better than it should. It also serves as a way to take the crew down a different path in the future with the outcome of the famed Enterprise itself.
Much like the other films this 4K remaster looks great and further enhances the film. The action and visuals look great and while dated much like them all still holds up well to the Star Trek legacy.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home follows a mysterious alien power that threatens the atmosphere of Earth in the 23rd century and Kirk and his crew must time travel back to 1986 San Francisco to save mankind. Exploring this strange new world, they encounter punk rock, pizza and exact-change buses that are as alien as anything in the far reaches of the galaxy.
This was easily the most unique in the entire film series as it feels the least like Star Trek in the best way possible. After three films that were pretty heavy this fourth time around added some light hearted humor and fun to it all with the use of time travel and a chance to bring our intergalactic heroes to the present day at the time. I have always loved this one and reminds me of the similar direction Planet of the Apes took with Escape From The Planet of the Apes. This was a big gamble because any use of time travel tends to go horribly wrong but thankfully it works and still holds up as the most fun you can have in a Star Trek film in my opinion. Add to that that is continuing the same story where it left off previously and it is all the better.
Once again the visuals are further enhanced by the 4K transfer, but this film doesn’t benefit from it as much with it taking place mostly on present day Earth and not using as many visual effects throughout. That doesn’t make it look any less wonderful and do the film justice it deserves.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier follows the newly-christened starship Enterprise's shakedown cruise that goes poorly, forcing Captain Kirk and crew put her into Spacedock for repairs. But an urgent mission interrupts their Earth-bound shore leave. A renegade Vulcan named Sybok has taken three ambassadors hostage on Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace. This event also attracts the attention of a Klingon captain who wants to make a name for himself and sets out to pursue the Enterprise. Sybok's ragtag army captures the Enterprise and takes her on a journey to the center of the galaxy in search of the Supreme Being.
Revisiting this film for the first time since it was released I am reminded why I never watched it again. It is very Star Trek which is a good thing, but it is all over the place and the story just isn’t overly compelling. The addition of Sybok is a great addition to the evolution of Spock, but sadly not anything that really stands out. The cast are always fun to watch and great together, but I think the attempt to get more personal and trying to add something bigger to the mix hurt the film.
In the end this is one of my least favorite of the entire original franchise, but one that I would still say is a must have for your collection. It’s always awesome to get the old crew back together and with so many now gone it brings a smile to my face seeing them in action.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country follows the Klingons have an estimated 50 years before their ozone layer is completely depleted, and they all die after an explosion on their moon. They have only one choice - to make peace with the Federation, which will mean an end to 70 years of conflict. Captain James T. Kirk and crew are called upon to help in the negotiations because of their experience with the Klingons. Peace talks don't quite proceed, and Kirk and McCoy are convicted of assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor, and imprisoned on Rura Penthe, a snowy hard-labor prison camp.
I have always really dug this flick, but a lot of that has to do with my love of the Klingons. It also features so many great actors sprinkled throughout including Christopher Plummer, Kurtwood Smith, Kim Cattrell, David Warner, Iman, Matthias Hues, Christian Slater and even Michael Dorn as Worf. While the crew is kept mainly apart it offers up a fun dynamic with more in new roles including Sulu being Captain of the Excelsior.
This film offered up plenty of action and fun while bringing some mystery to the tale trying to figure out who framed Kirk and Bones. Sure it has some issues but all these layers together made for a great Star Trek flick which might not be the most popular opinion, but I just find it to be a great entry into the legacy of this original crew franchise.
This comprehensive 15-disc collection includes the first six big-screen adventures featuring the original series crew in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and HDR-10. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture—The Director’s Edition also includes Dolby Atmos). Both Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country are making their 4K Ultra HD debuts. The set also includes access to Digital copies of each of the six films, as well as hours of new and legacy bonus content.
Boldly return to where no man has gone before and grab your copy of the Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture 6-Movie Collection available September 6th on 4K from Paramount Home Entertainment.
All six of the feature films listed above will also be available individually on 4K Ultra HD or Blu-ray on the same day as well as the Star Trek: The Motion Picture The Director's Edition 4K standard release and The Complete Adventrue.